BRUSSELS — All new cars in the European Union will need to have from next week a special system that automatically calls the emergency services in case of an accident.

Erik Jonnaert, the secretary general of the ACEA car manufacturers’ association, said Wednesday that the eCall system “has the potential to save many lives by shortening the reaction time of emergency services.”

Sensors in the car automatically transmit its location, the exact time and direction it was headed in when the accident happens.

The eCall system was approved by the 28-nation EU in 2015 and the three-year transition period ends this weekend.